A Washington woman initially thought to jumped to her death while living abroad in Marneuli, Georgia, was likely raped and forced off of a cliff, according to investigators.
Georgia Today reports that 19-year-old Malkhaz Kobauri is accused of raping and killing Lora Joy Smith on July 6, as her family took a hiking trip near Khada Gorge. Authorities initially reported that the victim fell from a cliff while fleeing from the suspect, after she reportedly witnessed him murder her husband, Ryan Smith, and son, 4-year-old Caleb.
Investigators are now stating that Kobauri, a reported shepherd who served as a guide for the family, forced Lora by gunpoint off of a cliff, where she fell into a gorge at a waterfall and drowned. Court documents stated that the incident began when suspect became irritated during a dispute with Ryan and shot him in the back of the head. Kobauri then shot and killed Caleb, according to prosecutors.
Authorities also indicated that Kobauri, who claimed to be a virgin, looked at pornographic sites prior to meeting up with the family.
Defendant Malkhaz Kobauri in courtroom: I did not kill Smiths. 2 foreign males did it, threatened to eliminate my family https://t.co/R9SFbqaWx5
— Ghia Abashidze (@ghiageo) July 11, 2018
“The investigation found that before the incident, Malkhaz Kobauri had been visiting pornographic websites, which underlines his interest in this regard,” prosecutor David Kazarashvili.
An autopsy on Lori, carried out by the Samkharauli Forensics Bureau, revealed Kobauri’s sperm was found in the victim’s body and on her underwear.
The suspect allegedly admitted to the incident, then later recanted and said “two foreigners” approached the family and killed them. Authorities said there is no evidence of Kobauri’s claims.
The family moved from the U.S. to Georgia, a former Soviet republic, in 2011. They were “well respected” in the community, according to Daily Mail.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Smith family/Handout]